When you hire a contractor to work with your business, you have every faith that the work will be performed as promised. But successful companies are built on far more than promises. This is why you put paperwork in place before the first hour of work is performed. If you’ve hired a consultant to provide guidance, that consultant is serving in a contractor capacity and should be bound by the same legal restrictions as any freelancers you hire.
But even if you have a contract, there’s no guarantee the consultant will honor it. When that happens, it’s known as a breach of contract and you can take legal action to recoup any payments you’ve made and sever the contract. Here are three things that count as breach of contract when working with consultants.
Failure to Provide Promised Services
Perhaps the most straightforward violation of a consultant contract is a material breach, which is a failure to provide the services outlined in the contract. It’s important to be as specific as possible when you’re drawing up the contract so that you can point to that if the contractor fails to perform. Make sure you outline exactly what you expect the outcomes of the work performed to be and verify that the consultant understands those expectations.
Failure to Meet Timelines
Most consultant contracts aren’t open-ended. There should be a start and end date for the work, and the contractor should agree to the stated timeline. Unfortunately, you won’t always want to wait until the deadline has passed to cancel the contract. An anticipatory breach of contract seeks to show that the consultant won’t meet obligations, even though the deadline has not yet passed. By enacting the clauses in your contract that the consultant isn’t fulfilling, you should be able to cancel the contract and hire someone else.
When a contractor agrees to provide a product or service, the quality of that offering matters. For that reason, if you review breach of contract examples, you’ll likely find defective workmanship is a big factor. But defective work can apply to consulting services, as well. You may, for instance, find that once your consultant starts, the promised expertise never surfaces. This is why it’s important to write your work contracts with enough detail that you can point to what you expected and how the consultant didn’t deliver.
Ideally, you’ll never need to worry about a breach of contract with your consultants or other contractors. But if you’re detailed in your contracts on the front end, you’ll be able to protect yourself when your consultant disappoints. If you believe there has been a breach of contract for a consultant, contact us today.